I mentioned below that I just got an iPod Shuffle. I didn't really like the idea of getting something without a screen that only holds 1GB of music, but since the plan was to simply use it while running I figured that I could load it up with adrenaline-inducing songs and plug into my computer when I really wanted to get picky with my listening.
That plan has become somewhat complicated. See, the Shuffle seems to be doing the exact opposite of what I intended for it to be able to do. Let me explain.
I figured that high-energy songs, such as punk, ska, and rock, would do best while exercising. The classical and alternative stuff could hang out at home. However, odd as it seems, the sound quality on the Shuffle has blown me away...mostly. Songs ripped from CD are amazing, with both the highs and the lows projected well. Listening to some songs I'm hearing voices within the songs I'd never noticed before, not to mention the increased quality of the voices I was used to. Think of going from embossed to chiaroscuro, except in terms of sound. However, a lot of the most high-energy songs, such as those by Metallica, sound squashed and flat.
Thus, ironically, the Shuffle is best-suited for playing albums, rather than individual hits. Is this sound configuration peculiar to the Shuffle, or is it shared by the Nano and regular iPod? Is it a function of the solid-state memory and lack of moving parts in the unit? It's just odd to me that such an inexpensive device is successfully revealing elements that more-expensive products have consistently failed to convey.